As we count down to the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend, let’s find out more about the eleven talented temptresses competing for Reigning Queen! I have asked each of them about their lives, personalities, preparations and plans, so that those who don’t already know them well can learn a little about them and their work, and those of us who know them better can enjoy their thoughtful and entertaining responses.
Trixie Little needs no introduction…
If I looked you up in a twinkling, rhinestone covered burlesque dictionary, what would the entry for ‘Trixie Little’ say?
Trixie Little (American, female) diminutive acrobatic burlesque star known for her athletic physique, intelligence and for mixing sex with humour. Helped raise the profile of neo-burlesque in popular culture. Often performs alongside her talented husband, The Evil Hate Monkey.
Paint us a little picture of your everyday life and work in New York and on tour – I trust the wedding plans are well underway…?
Let’s see, I usually wake up between 10-11am and drink coffee while checking email. By noon I usually have to run off to a class or go to rehearsal. I try to take at least two different classes at any given time to properly take advantage of the best-of-everything that NYC has to offer! This spring I’ve been taking a screenwriting class at NYU and a ‘Contorture’ class (contortion stretching and handstands) plus I pop in to other circus, ballet or yoga classes whenever I can. Then I typically come home around 5-6pm and make dinner and hang out with Monkey. I’ll spend some time tinkering on any costumes that need repairing/blinging while watching a movie or something. Then by 9pm I usually have to get to a burlesque gig such as Slipper Room in Exile, Nurse Bettie or Hotel Chantelle. Then I’ll meet up with Monkey for our late night gig at The Box around midnight. We work there most weeks we’re home from Tuesday through Saturday. Usually we get sucked into drinking champagne and hanging out with the other performers and crew after the show, so most nights we don’t get into bed until 3-4am. I’ve definitely gotten used to sleeping less since we moved here.
And yes, wedding plans do have to be squeezed in around all this!
What would you say is your greatest strength?
Strength is my greatest strength! Inside and out I feel pretty strong!
Can you tell me a bit about your chosen act? Why have you chosen it, is it an old trusted act, or a new routine? Have you made any special changes or ‘upgrades’ to it for BHoF?
I am continuously working on a handful of ‘NYC gig acts’ that fit on tiny stages, don’t take up a lot of space and are mostly improv. These are the acts I typically chose from when I’m ready to take an act up to the next level. When they are ready for the polishing stage, the first thing I do is take my starter costume to Garo Sparo to remake professionally. Then I start setting the choreography and moments so it’s not improv any more. But the improv part is an awesome part of my process because I’m a character actor more than a dancer, so I get to learn what the juicy moments are this way.
The act I’m competing with, ‘Champagne Bubble’, was a NYC gig act at first, but I’ve been working on it for about two years now. It’s definitely my most classic aesthetically, but I haven’t sacrificed any personality – it’s still very me! There are some good acrobatic tricks, some funny moments, some sexy moments and a big finish. I’ve been fine-tuning some special effects that I’m excited to do on a large stage too.
“Experience has taught me that it’s truly not about winning, but about feeling you gave the BEST performance you are capable of giving … BHoF sets the gold standard of our art form. I couldn’t be more honoured to be part of it…”
You have competed before. What has previous experience taught you – do you plan to do anything differently this year, or adopt a different approach or attitude?
Experience has taught me that it’s truly not about winning, but about feeling you gave the BEST performance you are capable of giving. I don’t feel like my past performances were the best of my ability, so I’m really happy to have the chance to try again. It’s about your personal best. My strategy this year is do something for my act every day leading up to the competition. Whether that’s beading my costume, working on a trick, watching a rehearsal video or actually performing the act somewhere… I want to feel like I did every single thing I could have to get to my top performance level. The only other thing I’m doing to prepare is re-watching all six seasons of Xena: Warrior Princess in order to pull out my inner champion.
Is competing something you enjoy, or that pushes or encourages you to excel?
Working at The Box and competing at BHoF are the two things that continually push me to be a better, smarter performer. It’s a priceless gift to have a reason to push yourself further. BHoF sets the gold standard of our art form. I couldn’t be more honoured to be part of it.
Why is BHoF special and important to you? What are some of your favourite memories from past years?
Every year is amazing. It’s my favorite vacation. We’ve been going since 2005 (seven consecutive years) and each year is better than the last. It’s been fascinating to watch the organisation try to grow into a bonafide museum too. I’ve seen it go from the desert to storage to a tiny space in the Old Strip with its first paid staff person! It’s modest, but it’s progress. I’m really excited about the organisational developments BHoF has been making because I want to see us have a Liberace-size museum of our own one day.
How would you spend your year as Queen – do you have any specific plans or goals if you win? Will you and Monkey (‘Reigning King’ 2010) become the ‘Wills and Kate’ of burlesque and plan public appearances?!
If I win, Monkey and I are immediately forming a troupe so we can apply next year and try earn trophies in every category. And I’ll be wearing my crown to everyday too, so I’ll have to wear my veil over the crown at our wedding!
What are your dreams and hopes for burlesque in the future, and yourself as a part of it?
I really want more mainstream success for us. I think we have a niche that seems to resonate broadly; we’ve got humour, smarts, sexiness and a male/female combo – something for everyone, basically! I’m ready to push into the homes of the general public in every form of media!
The Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend
Quoted in major international newspapers and held in high esteem and affection by the international burlesque community, 21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene since 2007. Founded and edited by Holli-Mae Johnson.